Sir: Aldi offering Wagyu beef at such a low price is an eyecatching offer that is bound to create a stir amongst consumers (‘Aldi adds New Zealand Wagyu beef to Specially Selected range,’ The Grocer, 7 June, p34). However, it also poses interesting questions about how price affects the enjoyment of brands. By offering the famous beef at such a low price, will some of the mystique and enjoyment be stripped from it?

Duke University recently studied the power of price on the effectiveness of painkillers. Half of the consumers were given a placebo pill that supposedly cost $2.50 and half were told it cost 10c. When taking the higher-priced pill, 85% of consumers reported pain relief compared with only 61% amongst those taking the discounted placebo.

If these findings apply to Aldi’s offer, it suggests that consumers might not enjoy their cut-price beef as much as if they’d bought it at full price. The promotion therefore still might do wonders for Aldi’s ever-growing reputation, but it might not do so well for the reputation of Wagyu beef.

Richard Shotton, head of insight, ZenithOptimedia Group